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"full of instructive sayings," 1815, from French gnomique (18c.) and directly from Late Latin gnomicus "concerned with maxims, didactic," from Greek gnomikos, from gnome "thought, opinion, maxim, intelligence," from root of gignoskein "to come to know" (see gnostic). English gnome meant "short, pithy statement of general truth" (1570s). Gnomical is attested from 1610s.